28 Abducted Children Released

After a month in captivity, the armed abductors of more than 120 Nigerian students from Bethel Baptist High School in the northern town of Damishi have released 28 captives from the Bethel Baptist High School.

In an emotionally charged ceremony, church officials reunited families with their children who had been abducted from the school on July 5, 2021. During remarks, the Rev. Israel Akanji, President of the Baptist Convention, said there still remains an 80 plus students being held by the gunmen.

The recent release of captives now brings the number of students who have either been released or freed to 34 children. Currently, it remains unclear when the other children will be released. The gunmen are demanding 500,000 Naira for the release of the remaining captives (approximately $1,200).

Rev. Akanji has remained adamant that the church will not pay any ransoms because it is opposed to paying criminals. However, he noted that he neither has the power to stop parents from paying ransom or engaging in the appropriate activities they deem fit to secure the release of their children.

According to local Nigerian Police spokesperson, Mohammed Jalige, security forces and civilian defense have been participating in routine patrols in the villages and forces since the kidnapping, serving as both a deterrent and participating in search and rescue.

On July 12, a rescue patrol found three of the kidnapped children exhausted roaming near the village of Tsohon Gaya. Two additional students ran away on July 20 when they were out gathering firewood as part of a sortie.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attacks and abductions at schools across the country. His governing party runs on a platform of improving internal security and improving education. 

Jalige commented that security forces are prepared to stay in the area as long as necessary to help ensure the safety of Nigerian citizens.

Source: Baptist Press